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The Tower of Ravens by Kate Forsyth
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May 14, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: reviewed, journaled, z-do-not-delete

California Vacation Read #4: The last of a disastrous selection of books brought with me for the trip, the only one I bothered to bring back, and that only because I needed a book for the flight home. The single worst disappointment of the lot.

The short version of this review is: I didn't like it.

This book was recommended to me with universal praise on all sides, and I was terribly eager to read it because, hey, there are flying horses. And the title character Rhiannon is great — I loved her inhumanity, and the fact that her personality had been shaped by such an interesting semi-human culture, and her wonderfully direct pragmatism.

The long version is: I hated every other character in this book. Everybody, everybody is a whiny, patronizing moron with a holier-than-thou attitude that grated on my nerves so much. The characters connected to the Rhin and his elite military force are the worst, and the author has written all of them with the air that every smug little phrase that comes out of their mouths is sainted truth. I'm under the impression that Forsythe is hammering this ultragoodness of the Rhin et al. because they were the set of protagonist characters in Forsythe's preceding seven-volume series, but honestly that only made me hate them more. I would have liked this book better if Rhiannon had knifed them all. Although I probably don't need to spell this out, I will never pick up Forsythe's preceding series and, as the plot of The Tower of Ravens stands now, I'd only be interested in reading the following books if in them Rhiannon overthrows the government and drowns the country in chaos.

And what's with Rhiannon written as constantly bringing her mare to foundering? I don't know if was Forsythe's consistent typo for flounder, which would be an action that would have made sense in the context of the scenes, or if she's just picked founder out of a hat of the names of serious equine ailments in an attempt at verisimilitude. If so, massive fail there: while laminitis can be a very serious ailment that can cause death in a horse, it's an ailment that affects the hoof — and remember, this is a flying horse we're talking about here. Its common cause is feeding a horse an improper diet and then aggravating the diet imbalance by excessively working or standing the horse on hard ground. Forsysth's use of the word founder indicates she believes that a hoof ailment is somehow caused by wing muscle exhaustion. If she had intended to refer to any actual equine ailment, she meant broken wind.

California Vacation Reading List (November 2009)
#1 | Recursion
#2 | The Devil and Miss Prym
#3 | The Lost Continent
#4 | The Tower of Ravens
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